Be Happy. Be the Blessing.

People often think of happiness as a reaction. Something happens and our spirits enjoy a boost. But really happiness is proactive. It’s cherishing what we already have and living life with our eyes open, purposefully seeking moments that fill us with joy.

Most of us don’t lead exciting lives. Exciting events happen, but not on a daily basis. Moments, however, are daily. They’re also abundant. And with each new moment comes a new opportunity to be happy. Even if we’re not happy with our life, we can be happy in the moment. We can savor it as we might a breeze, knowing it’ll pass quickly but enjoying it while it lasts.happy9

As I write this, my baby girl, Camille, is cuddled on my lap. When she woke up today she called for me as she always does, saying, “Momma?…Momma?” in the sweetest voice ever. These moments flood me with joy. They make me pause and thank God she’s my child. In short, they make me happy.

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10 Common Mistakes Parents Today Make (Me Included)

When I became a mom, I got lots of advice on how to love my child. But not until a few years ago did someone actually point out that loving a child means wanting what’s best for them long-term.

When my girls were young, long-term didn’t resonate with me. Back then it was about survival, meeting daily needs and keeping my head above water. There are several years that remain a blur, and only when I see old pictures and videos do memories get triggered.mom7 copy 4

But now that my kids are maturing, the fog is lifting. I’m no longer a pledge of parenting, but rather an indoctrinated member. The perks of this stage is that my kids want to spend time with me. We have real conversations that reveal their beautiful personalities. With everyone sleeping through the night, I’m sleeping better, too. I can think coherently and be more intentional in how I raise them.

These days, I put more thought into long-term. I think about the kind of adults I hope my children will be and work backward to ask, “What can I do today to foster that?” Being mindful of their future has changed my parenting paradigm, because what makes my children happy at age 10 or 15 is somewhat different than what will make them happy at age 25, 30, 40, and beyond.

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A Silver Linings Mindset

Every morning when we wake up, we have a choice. We can choose to be grateful for what’s right in our life or grumpy for what’s wrong.

Nobody is born grateful. We learn gratitude by practicing it. This is good news because it means gratitude is within everyone’s reach. In any and all circumstances it works. Even if we’re skeptical or pessimistic by nature, there’s hope. Even if we’ve been beaten down by life, there’s hope.

Learning to be grateful is a matter of noticing what’s already there. It’s getting over ourselves and what we think life owes us. It’s comparing ourselves to those who have less – not more – and would kill to be in our shoes. It’s training our mind to see the good in every situation. By applying a new filter, we develop a silver linings mindset that can turn any negative into a positive.silver

Sound impractical? Let’s put the idea to use by thinking of everyday irritations that dampen our mood. Let’s take what would normally get under our skin and let it roll off our shoulders using gratitude. Whatever is bothering us, whatever we’re taking for granted, someone else is praying to have our problem.

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